Who understands the bible?

Clearly, numerous sections of the bible should not be taken literally. I assume that biblical advice such as self-mutilation, burning-down of cities, rape and ethnic cleansing should be interpreted in such manner that it will make sense in modern context. Also, the biblical explanation of our origin and that of our universe seems rather fantastic and must, presumably, be seen metaphorically.

Is there an unambiguous guideline that explains what parts are to be taken literal and what parts are metaphorical, symbolical, etc.

And, if metaphorical, what does the metaphor points towards (for example: what does the story of adam and eve explain if it is not historically correct?).

Answer #1

We cannot understand the bible, without being led thru it, by the Holy Spirit. It is a spirit inspired book, and without that same spirit, interpreting it, it is Greek.

However, if you truly seek to know and understand the bible, you have to first seek the author.

Answer #2

Hi miscegenymiser. Thanks for your interesting opinion. I have a great interest in the religion-historical approach and appreciate your answer. The drive behind my question, however, is a curiosity about peoples views on the complete bible as a source of modern moral values. After serious study, I am afraid that I can not come to any other conclusion that the bible is inconsistent on these matters, to say the least.

Hi Floss, I do refer to those sections that are clearly difficult not to be seen as advice. I also do not make a distinction between the old and new testament for the very same reason as to why I asked my question in the first place. Now, I try to avoid quotations because it always seem to generate some kind of war-of-words ending in confused aggravation when it comes to matters of moral. And to be honest, I am rather tired of that! It is also a bit silly having to point out bible passage to a christian. But sure, let’s try: Deuteronomium 13:13/16 gives a rather clear hint towards burning-down of cities (and I suppose that, in a modern context, it would qualify as ethnic cleansing, who knows? Again; this is why I asked my question). Matthew 18:8/9 Advices self-mutilation that is, in a modern context, extremely questionable. Deuteronomium 20:10/14 provide guidelines in the ‘light’ of rape. Judges 5:30/31 even celebrates rape (I admit, it is not advice… so perhaps it does not count… ). If you want more examples, please find them yourself; with little effort, they are not hard to find. I accept that several of these guidelines could be read as descriptions of advice as it was given by God to people that are described in bible stories. But that still constitutes as ‘advice’. And, more to the point, if this is the concept, then the confusion remains. It does not provide an answer to my question.

Answer #3

Annv, before you try to ‘understand’ the bible, understand this:

the old testament was first written down about 2600 years ago. the new testament was written 1900 years ago both books were assembled together 1700 years ago. Man first figured out that the Earth goes AROUND the Sun 500 years ago.

Answer #4

Silverwings, does that imply that a muslim, buddhist, Hindu, shintoist, cargo-sectarian, Thor-worshipper or atheist can not, and never understand the hidden sense of the bible?

And how about jewish people? They can claim at least half the bible as theirs. How do they cope without the christian Holy Spirit?

Answer #5

Nope. That’s why there’s such a profusion of different sects of christianity, all with different interpretations. And why the Anglican church looks like it’s undergoing a schism at the moment. As you point out, christianity is as much down to interpretation and tradition as it down to the bible itself.

Answer #6

The Bible is myth, legend, and propaganda from Genesis through Revelation. It is not the work of any god. Don’t take any of it seriously.

Answer #7

shredder, in what way does that answer my question?!

Answer #8

Well, just on the Jewish query above, I can answer from reading the Old Testament that God gave His Holy Spirit to many Jewish people - prophets, royal leaders etc. The difference in theology only seems to be that God’s Spirit can leave someone in those circumstances (King Saul, for example, and the fear expressed by the psalmist: ‘Do not take your holy spirit from me’) whereas in Christianity we are taught that God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is now full time and non-removable. But the gift of the Spirit is clearly given to Jews as well as to Christians.

Answer #9

Thank you, people… you confirmed my suspicions.

Answer #10

the bible is not literally the word of God as some people believe. It is the word of the people who preach about God. Naturally people are flawed and some people could abuse the power that goes along with being in a powerful position. For example, if I hated cheesecake and wanted everyone in the world to stop eating cheesecake I could say that Satan created cheesecake. It sounds rediculous but it was a freakin example!! Lol. Anyway many of the stories are was of teaching people to live morally according to the church. Other stories are simply to explain the unexplainable example: where did people come from [insert story of Adam and Eve] Sometimes stories get misinterpreted over the years. Some people go as far as taking the story of Sodom and [other city that God is said to have destroyed] as ‘God vs. gays’ Quite simply this is not true. Many times for one to understand the bible they have to understand the history of the time when the specific stories were written. We are told of God destroying cities because a man made love to another man. At the time these stories were told many newborns didn’t generally live. Many died as a result of diseases or other reasons. This resulted in decreased population. Obviously two men having sex can’t get pregnant so, thinking they were saving the human race, some guy wrote a story in the bible about how God killed people for sleeping with people of the same sex. The same can be said for master-baiting. If someone is getting themselves off instead of having sex and repopulating the planet, obviously a baby isn’t going to be produced. The bible should be treated as any other story whether you believe in God or not because either way, God didn’t write it. But the morals you get out of the bible are your own interpretation. In my opinion, if God or the idea of God gives someone hope than who are we to take that hope away from them? P.s. – I don’t reallly hate cheesecake

Answer #11

But I think it’s a misuse of the word ‘advice’ to describe the rape and violence which goes on in the Old Testament. They are records of what happened. Sometimes these things happened through the agencies of God’s people, often they did not, so why do you consider them ‘advised’ by the Bible - they are simply described.

Answer #12

I suppose you could read and interpret for yourself. I found more than a few disconnects…

In my opinion the New Testament is a redaction, if not outright renunciation, of the Old. Yahweh of the Old testament [not to be confused for the elohim of creation] is a version of Saturn… and like his doppelganger holds an aversion for the free will of humanity. Jesus is an allegory of the sun god. Why, for example, we celebrate his birth on the day the sun begins its visible return from its solstice. Why he is said to have descended into hell for three days and to have conquered it… Why christians changed the sabbath to Sunday. Why we symbolize belief with an iteration of the solar wheel.

In my opinion the Bible is chock-full of esoteric imagery. It requires comprehension of these methods and the comparison with other precursor and offshoot religions to understand. I don’t presume to fully understand myself… but I do find it interesting enough to explore.

Why the encryption? I don’t know exactly. Again I have an opinion, but it is just that and it is still in the nursery, so to speak. I agree that it is ambiguous.

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